Align Technology's latest innovations and what they mean for dentistry

Align Technology's recent showcase at the 2024 Chicago Midwinter Meeting unveiled a series of groundbreaking products that the company believes are set to redefine the dental care landscape.

Among these innovations, the iTero Lumina intraoral scanner stands out as a game changer, according to Dr. Mitra Derakhshan, senior vice president, global clinical for Align Technology, representing a significant advancement in scanning technology. This scanner utilizes new iTero Multidirect Capture technology, offering more accurate and faster scans, along with better visualization and higher quality photorealistic views.

Dr. Mitra DerakhshanDr. Mitra Derakhshan.

"The benefit for dentists is a more accurate scan," Dr. Derakhshan said. "And not only a more accurate scan but also faster and seamless scanning. And with scanning experience comes better visualization, and we believe much higher quality."

According to Align, the compact and lightweight design of the iTero Lumina scanner enhances its usability, making it 50% smaller and 45% lighter than previous models. This allows for a more comfortable scanning experience for both dentists and staff. Furthermore, the scanner's three times larger field of view enables faster scanning and effortless arch capture, streamlining the scanning process and improving efficiency in dental practices.

Training is a crucial aspect of integrating new products into dental practices, and Align Technology offers a variety of training modalities to support dental professionals, Dr. Derakhshan said. Clinical trainers may provide hands-on training while self-learning modules and online tutorials are also available from Align. Additionally, team training events and dental congresses offer opportunities for dental assistants and staff to learn about new products and technologies.

In addition to the iTero Lumina scanner, Align Technology introduced its Invisalign Palatal Expander System in Chicago. This 3D-printed appliance expands the palate without the need for a screw, eliminating the anxiety associated with manual adjustments. The expander is designed with precision, with adjustments made in increments of a quarter of a millimeter, to help ensure optimal results. Its removable design allows for easy maintenance of oral hygiene, making it a convenient  solution for orthodontic treatment.

"It's our first direct 3D-printed device," Dr. Derakhshan said. "It's removable, but you're getting the results similar to fixed metal expander because of the materials and the material science and the technology we used. The patient can remove it, maintain his or her oral hygiene, and eat with it if needed. It's designed to be durable. When kids are at school, parents don't need to worry about things in the past like, 'Oh, my kid took it out and lost it.' We've really taken that whole mom and patient experience to heart."

Align Technology’s commitment to enhancing the patient experience is evident in these innovations. Dr. Derakhshan believes that by listening to the needs of both dentists and patients, Align has developed products that not only improve clinical outcomes but also provide a more comfortable and efficient treatment process. The company's focus on innovation and technology is aimed at helping dentists grow their practices and deliver exceptional care to their patients.

Looking ahead, Dr. Derakhshan says that Align Technology plans to continue its focus on innovation, particularly in the areas of appliance design and digital treatment planning, such as the Invisalign Smile Architect, which allows for tooth movement prior to restorations, ultimately improving treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Align Technology’s latest innovations represent a significant step forward in the field of dental care. By prioritizing patient experience, clinical outcomes, and practice efficiency, Align is once again shaping the future of orthodontic treatment. As the company continues to innovate and expand its product offerings, Dr. Derakhshan says that dental professionals can expect more breakthroughs that will revolutionize the way they deliver care to their patients.

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